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Exclusive: How Hypocrisy of Fairness Creams feed on Hysteria of ‘Fairer Skin’ in India!

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Fairness Cream Add, Youtube

– by Naina Mishra

The hysteria of a Fairer Skin in India is undoubtedly embedded in the people from the moment they learn to spot themselves in the mirror. The fault finding mind-set pave its way to inferiority, and then the introspection begins – “Why my skin is not fair”, a question I always contemplated. As I grew up, I realized that the color tone was never a predicament. The fault was never in the shade of my skin, rather the slip was in the belief system of the society.

Apparently, the endorsements carry huge credibility and are exceedingly persuasive, but what happens when the marketers play with the mindset of people to sell their product?

Here is what Fair and Lovely claims:

“Fair & Lovely has reflected a Women’s Dreams for the past 40 years. Throughout its history, Fair & Lovely has inspired women to go for their dreams, even if they were at odds with what society expected them to do.”

What dreams is Fair and Lovely addressing to while profoundly taking pride in changing lives of women?  As a matter of fact, in a patriarchal social order, women face many tight spots. However, it is unjust to assert that the solution to the ubiquitous issues is merely a fairness cream.

The Society also expects Dowry’ – which remains irresolvable for the past 40 years. ‘Virginity before marriage ‘ is questionable in our society. How well have the hues of a skin mitigated the much wider subjects like these?

“In the 80’s, when society expected women to marry mostly via arranged marriages, Fair & Lovely gave them hope that women could marry by choice. In the 90s, when women desired not just marriage but also an equal partnership”

The ‘equal-equal’ commercial by Fair and Lovely insinuates that it is the fair toned skin which can heighten one’s confidence to demand a perfect matrimonial match. I speculate how many women have been able to find a perfect match owing to their color tone. Succumbing to such dogma dents the confidence, even more, when people fall prey to fairness products and later feel cheated.

And today, when despite much progress, women still don’t get equal opportunities and society continues to impose barriers for women, Fair & Lovely will give women the confidence to overcome their own hesitations & fears to achieve their true potential.

Needless to say, this is another bogus claim by Fair and Lovely.

It has not only struck the chord with the women, the men too want a fairer skin with Fair and Handsome in the markets nowadays. Does the fairness creams really talk about freedom or it is just inculcating gross racism?

Hindustan Unilever quarters two conflicting cosmetic brands (Dove vs. Fair and Lovely)

In 2005, Dove launched a ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ which strived to change the perceived notions of stereotypical beauty. Dove conducted a global study, it was discovered that only 2% of women described themselves “beautiful”.

The rationale, however, might have been to sell the dove product lines, but it did justice to the women who had an incredibly shallow self-concept of beauty. Dove placed the hoarding of women with real beauty (wrinkled skin or fat body), thus outshining the ‘Perfect, flawless and skinned’ image of beauty.

Fair and Lovely, conversely has subsisted by the dark skinned convention, indicating women that they might not be able to find a perfect match or a right job as easily as their paler counterparts.

Let’s Uncolor Campaign

Recently, a campaign against Fair and Lovely created uproar in the social media. The rationale behind the campaign is to urge people to think beyond the color. ‘A promising fairness’, an illicit theme through which the fairness creams has feigned people for ages. The campaign was initiated by the famed vocalist, Ram Subramaniam in light of color racism which the brand seeks to bolster, even if it involves the slaughter of moral principles.

The video has gaged immense popularity among the people on social media with 2 million views.

Watch: Let’s Uncolour Campaign

This is how people showed their support for the campaign – Let’s Uncolor #IamNewIndia.

 

I reached out to Ram Subramaniam with regard to his most recent campaign against fairness creams.

Color racism has been embedded in our society ever since an undefined time. Can India ever be racist-free country? 
Yes, we can be racism-free because India is unique and beautiful as a nation. Indians are predominantly dark skin, bravely democratic and spiritual as people.
“Fair and lovely proclaims, they have helped women to overcome societal barriers and seeking a right partner.”How badly are women deceived through such advertisements?
Everyone knows the answer to that question. See, fair and lovely is a cosmetic product masquerading as a miracle and in that process, they are making most people of this country feel small instead of better. It’s important that we ban all cosmetics that hint at fairness equals beautiful or handsome. It’s not good for our society as it promotes casteism, racism, classism and singular-ism. I would like to believe that it’s a governance oversight by the political class, since independence, and I hope it will be corrected.

In a country like India, marketers’ predators are always eager to prey on people’s insecurities.

For all the right reasons, marketers should stop digging at Dark Skinned people. The European colonization is long gone and it is expected from all the fairness clichés to vanish in thin air. Beauty certainly lies in the eyes of the beholder and not in the fairness creams.

– By Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94

 

 

 

 

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Is The Future ‘Dark’? : The Reason behind the Obsession of Indians for White Skin

In a country that believes 'fair' is 'lovely', it is by this simple logic that everybody else is ugly

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Every year, the sale of fairness creams keeps growing because of women's obsession with white skin
Cosmetics make a thriving business. Pixabay
  • Many Indians, especially women feel a disturbing obsession with fairness
  • Colourism is a deep-rooted belief in the Indian society
  • Advertising of skin whitening products has shifted from downright offensive to cautiously discreet, but the range on offer keeps growing

– By Soha Kala

July 27, 2017: “I had a voice and opinion but they muted my sound/ probably because I was told ‘boys only like girls who are fair and lovely’ “- says 18-year-old Aranya Johar. These words of a young poet whose vehement poetry brought the entire Indian society obsessed with ‘white’ skin to a standstill.

In a country that believes ‘fair’ is ‘lovely’, it is by this simple logic that everybody else is ugly. We live in a society where women are obsessed with their western, whiter counterparts.

HISTORY (MIGHT) HAVE ANSWERS-

  • Understanding Brahmins as ‘light’ skinned and other castes as ‘dark’- While this has been metaphorically used in traditional writings, it could have taken physical meaning over time. (Being fair might have meant to clean the thoughts not the skin.)
  • Indian domination by Persians, Turks, Afghans, Europeans and British- These people had fairer skin in comparison to the native Indians. Since these people were regarded as social ‘elites’, there may have been an inclination to be ‘like them’.
  • Being Brown is unclean and ugly? – Subjection to racist views of the elites, generally viewing Indian skin color as ‘ugly’.

Adherence to white(er) overlords has been long associated white skin with power, status, and desirability among Indians, which is still reinforced by beauty magazines featuring foreign models. If an Indian face appears on these, it is obviously whitewashed.

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We are brought up on a steady diet of dolls in only fair skin and fairness cream advertisements. The idea further transitions into media when matrimonial columns in newspapers and online websites are dominated by suffocating expectations, where age or caste is flexible but only if you’re  ‘beautiful and fair’ and celebrities endorse creams that can make you, including men, fair. (What happened to the tall, dark and handsome man?)

This Colorism, coined by Alice Walker, is perhaps even older than caste discrimination, pushing innumerable Indians to artificially lighten their skin, a phenomenon popularly known as,

Bleaching Syndrome – A conscious process of self- denunciation which reflects deep-set belief that fair skin is better, more powerful, and prettier.

This is not exclusively restricted to India, but also common in rest of Asia and Africa.

A BOOMING BLEACHING MARKET

The $950 million retail beauty and cosmetic industry in India attractively packages cosmetic products promising ‘white beauty’ and ‘perfect nikhaar‘ (glow), purposely sold in ‘white’ casing. Then come vaginal creams to make it ‘fair’.

However, what many people don’t know is that they’re laden with dangerous steroids.

A 2014 report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based not for profit research and advocacy organization revealed presence of heavy metals like lead, cadmium chromium and nickel in popular beauty products including foreign brands, which can damage kidneys and cause skin discoloration, rashes and scarring, besides leading to psychosis and peripheral neuropathy among other things.

This desire for an ‘ugly duckling to beautiful swan’ transition perhaps, explains the thriving industry, and success of image editing softwares like Photoshop and Instagram filters.

However, the beauty landscape appears to be evolving. In a series of hard-hitting Facebook posts, actor Abhay Deol called out members of his own fraternity in May this year for endorsing fairness creams, labeling their claims false and demeaning. His posts caused uproar in the country, inspiring similar stories that have since trended on social media.

In a similar instance in 2016, actress Tannishtha Chatterjee had also posted a Facebook status after walking out of a television shoot following demeaning remarks on her skin tone. Her post had over 300 shares.

Recently, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui also took a dig at the industry calling out its racist culture.

Till date, one of the most well-known empowerment and awareness programmes is the ‘Dark is Beautiful’ campaign that reinforces that every person is beautiful. With films like ‘Pinky Beauty Parlour’ now being made that question why women with lighter skins are coveted, and envied while the darker skinned ones are shunned, mocked and shamed, the issue is being repeatedly taken up by people.

Pinky Beauty Parlour is a Bollywood film that talks about colourism in the ndian society where women are obsessed with white skin
Pinky Beauty Parlor, the film. Image source : YouTube

“Forget snow white, say hello to chocolate brown/ I’ll write my own fairytale” are worded from Aranya’s A Brown Girl’s Guide to Beauty on YouTube that represent the progressive stand of the Indian youth on colorism.

Opinions and voices are coming forward thus raising a question, is the future ‘dark’?

– by Soha Kala for NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

 

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Kulaste launches interactive portal for oral health awareness

Awareness on oral hygiene is important as oral diseases are becoming the leading health problems and are attributed mainly to rapidly changing lifestyles

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A girl is vaccinated against measles at a Health clinic.

India, March 21, 2017: In a bid to improve awareness on oral health care, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Faggan Singh Kulaste launched the National Dental and Oral Information Interactive (IVR) portal here on Monday.

According to the Ministry, awareness on oral hygiene is important as oral diseases are becoming the leading health problems and are attributed mainly to rapidly changing lifestyles, wide-spread use of tobacco and increased consumption of alcohol.

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“Oral health is integral to overall health of a person and will contribute to the all-round development of the nation,” said Kulaste, during the launch on the occasion of World Oral Health Day.

As part of the initiative, the minister also launched Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material.

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Speaking on the occasion, Health Secretary C. K. Mishra said: “Oral diseases are becoming the leading health problems and attributed mainly to rapidly changing lifestyles, wide-spread use of tobacco and increased consumption of alcohol. Due to prevalence and incidence, oral diseases pose a major threat to public health.” (IANS)

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President of India presents KCK International Award for excellence in print Journalism

Journalists and journalism played an exemplary role in the social renaissance movement as well as the freedom struggle of the country

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Award
Representational Image, Courtesy: Wikimedia commons

India, March 21, 2017: The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the KCK International Award for Excellence in Print Journalism organized by Rajasthan Patrika in New Delhi on Monday.

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Speaking on the occasion, the President said that journalism has had a long history in our country. It has been closely associated with our struggle for independence and social reforms. Journalists and journalism played an exemplary role in the social renaissance movement as well as the freedom struggle of the country. The history of Indian journalism has been that of progressive reform, social renaissance and anti-colonialism. Beginning with the Samvad Kaumudi brought out by Raja Rammohun Roy in 1819 to Samachar Chandrika and Mirat-Ul-Akhbar, the Harijan and Young India edited by the Mahatma and later, through various other publications, the contribution of print journalism to an evolving Indian society and nationhood was immense.

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The President said that print journalism has its own impact because journalists through their columns/ stories/ comments etc. find a permanent place in the minds of readers. He stated that media has expanded with increasing use of technology and the influence of social media has also increased over the years.

The President said that he was glad to have the opportunity of conferring the KCK International award for excellence for print journalism on the distinguished awardees. He hoped that this would inspire others to follow their path and wished them all success in their future endeavours. (IANS)